The eleven mayors within the Canterbury region have come together to agree on a whole-of-region economic development strategy. The seven work programmes are:
1. Integrated regional transport planning and infrastructure investment, with a strong focus on multi-modal transport planning and investment.
2. Digital connectivity: extension and uptake of fast broadband in rural areas, with the aim of broadband being available to all rural households and businesses in Canterbury.
3. Freshwater management and irrigation infrastructure. The main target is to ensure all aspects of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy are implemented, including environmental restoration and water infrastructure projects.
4. Value-added production. Projects include identification of opportunities in District Plan reviews to enable sustainable value-added production, as well as sharing of information across the region about innovation and new developments in value-added production.
5. Education and training for a skilled workforce. The targets include every secondary student having a plan to transition them from school to work or further learning (and progress being monitored post-school), and earthquake rebuild workers (especially 18-25 year olds) being upskilled or retrained for their next career.
6. Newcomer and migrant settlement (skilled workers, cohesive communities). Targets to support newcomers and migrants include multi-lingual resources to provide key information, recognised local points of contact, community-led initiatives, and development of an online portal of relevant information.
7. The Regional visitor strategy involves establishment of a Canterbury Regional Tourism Alliance (involving councils, Tourism New Zealand, Christchurch Airport, passenger terminal ports, Ngai Tahu Tourism and other industry partners) to improve the range of available visitor experiences, increase the number and spend of visitors to Canterbury, and to keep visitors in Canterbury (and the South Island) longer.
The Canterbury region is New Zealand's largest region by land area - extending along most of the east coast of the South Island, from Kaikoura to Waitaki. It is also New Zealand's second largest region in terms of population. The Canterbury Regional Economic Development Strategy is available here: http://ecan.govt.nz/publications/General/CREDS-2015-08.pdf